Alderfen Broad, 26 April 2022

An evening meander out to Alderfen from Norwich to try and locate some botanical goodies that lurk there. Walking down the entrance track from Threehammer Common no.1 target was found with ease - the stunning shrub Darwin's Barberry with it's yellow/orange flower clusters and dark green almost holly-like leaves. While admiring it a Great Spotted Woodpecker was chipping away at a dead tree above my head and then my first Cuckoo of the year started calling. Entering the reserve itself it would have been hard to miss target no.2, Red-berried Elder as it was taking over one area with loads of bushes. Luckily some were within camera range without having to brave a ditch! I then embarked on a walk finding a couple of other new plants of my own - Heath Wood-rush and the impressive Greater Tussock Sedge as well as Raspberry

On the walk back I noticed a vaguely familiar broom-like bush beside the path which, upon closer inspection turned out to be French (or Montpellier) Broom. This find caused a little excitement within the local botanical community as it is a completely new site and only the 2nd ever vice county record. I was chuffed to say the least!

                                                                                                                                Darwin's Barberry

                                                                                                                                    Red-berried Elder
                                                                                                                              Greater Tussock Sedge
                                                                                                                               Heath Wood-rush
                                                                                                                                   French Broom

Norwich, week beginning 25 April 2022

I've been working in Norwich all week and staying at my parents. Taking the opportunity to nip out a couple of times in the evenings I managed to catch up with a couple of rather uninspiring grasses - Annual Meadow Grass and Early Meadow Grass but failed to find Bulbous Meadow Grass. They left me a bit cold to be honest but in my quest to reach 1000 plant sp by the end of the year they all count!

In an alley close to where I was working I found a distinctive Wavy Bittercress plant.

In Earlham Cemetery on Wednesday I managed to find a patch of Rosy Garlic which had just one bud starting to open. It is widely believed that they will probably be mowed before they flower. Meadow Saxifrage seems to be doing well there though. 

                                                                                                                           Annual Meadow Grass
                                                                                                                             Early Meadow Grass
                                                                                                                                  Wavy Bittercress

                                                                                                                                  Rosy Garlic
                                                                                                                             Meadow Saxifrage

Holkham and Wells, 24 April 2022

We braved the North Norfolk coast on Sunday but pretty soon realised why I wouldn't want to live there any more. Everything overpriced, busy, full of people I'd rather not associate with and dogs, bloody dogs literally everywhere! 

Anyway, rant over and down to our walk. We parked up in Wells town and did a long loop to the beach, along the beach and then pines, past Lady Anne's Drive and on to Meols House, returning to Wells via Holkham Park. A Red Kite over Wells lifeboat station kicked things off. My main aim other than the walk itself was to see some interesting plants in the area near Meols House and it didn't disappoint. My 3 targets of Yellow Figwort, False Alkanet and Rose of Sharon were all found easily although the latter was still in bud. Also there were a mass of Hairy Shieldbugs on Stinking Hellebore and a posing mating pair of Orange Tips. Into the bargain my first Reed Warbler of the year was singing, Flowering Currant looking good and in the dunes immediately north of the house I found Heath Dog Violet and Early Forget-me-not. Earlier my attention had been drawn to a cronking Raven about a quarter of a mile east of Lady Anne's Drive that glided into view over the trees and headed east over the marsh.

On the walk back to Wells east of Holkham Park a large patch of Common Fumitory contained the biggest flower spikes I've ever seen on the species and some Annual Wall Rocket was by a pavement in town.

                                                                                                                                      False Alkanet
Rose of Sharon

                                                                                                                                   Yellow Figwort
                                                                                                                                  Hairy Shieldbugs

                                                                                                                              Heath Dog Violets
                                                                                                                                     Orange Tips
                                                                                                                                Common Fumitory
                                                                                                                                  Annual Wall Rocket


Tyrrel's Wood - Early Purple Orchids, 23 April 2022

A walk around our local ancient woodland mainly for exercise purposes but it would have been very amiss of me not to check on the Early Purple Orchids while passing.

I found groups of c250, c45 and 2 in three different places. The biggest group held several lovely pale specimens but the pure 'alba' found last year was nowhere to be seen. Other plants around the walk included the locally rare Sanicle and plenty of Yellow Archangel

                                                                                                                               Early Purple Orchids


Winks Meadow, 21 April 2022

A very brief visit to Winks Meadow after work to check on the progress of the orchids.

The Green-winged Orchids were about 2 weeks off their full splendor but nonethless there were plenty to look at. Not much variety yet but the white and paler ones usually pop up slightly later anyway. Also there I managed to find a handful of Adder's Tongue plants, helped by the fact that the sward is pretty low at the moment. 

                                                                                                                           Green-winged Orchids
                                                                                                                               Adder's Tongue

Horstead Heath, 22 April 2022

Thanks to Louis Parkerson I headed out to an area I used to be familiar with yesterday - Horstead Heath, near Heggatt Hall, north of Norwich. I was visiting my parents so it was a quick whizz out from theirs.

The walk to the spot was very nice with Bluebells, Greater Stitchwort, Honesty, Garlic Mustard and Lesser Celandines lining the verges and tracksides. At the location I dived into some Birch woodland by a clearing and within a minute or two had found what I was looking for - Pill Sedge. Several clumps of this small but attractive sedge were scattered in the area where Climbing Corydalis was everywhere. Back out onto the footpath I then quickly found target no.2 - Greater Chickweed on the path sides just to the north. Again, quite a few plants once I'd got my eye in! c40 Moschatel plants were also by the path in one small area, a species that I seem to have bumped into in loads of places this spring.

On the walk back I made another nice find - a Crucifer Shieldbug on top of a Garlic Mustard flower. A new species for me and great to have it pose nicely for photos. 

                                                                                                                                 Crucifer Shieldbug

                                                                                                                                   Greater Chickweed

                                                                                                                                         Pill Sedge

Our garden Goldcrest

We have now had a territorial male Goldcrest in the conifer in our front garden for 4 months. The sound of his song is almost constant yet he still hasn't attracted a mate! There obviously isn't a female within earshot but top marks for perseverance little fella!

Over the Easter weekend I decided it was time to record him photographically - he deserves something! 


Ashwellthorpe Wood and The Hethel Thorn, 17 April 2022

Our Easter Sunday walk was around Ashwellthorpe Wood where I was surprised that the access has changed. A footbridge has been removed making access more tricky. Maybe the NWT want people to access it from somewhere else? Who knows!

Anyway, having gained access I was pleased to find a few Early Purple Orchids in flower but not many yet. Other than that it was the usual early spring woodland culprits although Water Avens was my first of the year. 

After doing the whole wood circuit we re-located to Hethel church for lunch and to admire the famous Hethel Thorn. This ancient Common Hawthorn dates from the 1300s and is regarded as one of the oldest in the country. It is managed by the NWT as the smallest nature reserve in the UK - just the one tree! We followed that up with a long walk west through the woods to the Lotus site and then back via some meadows where I found a False Oxlip (Cowslip x Primrose hybrid). Holly Blue, Orange Tip and Large White were also seen plus a new bee for me - Tawny Mining Bee. Birdwise it was quiet but a singing Common Whitethroat in brambles near Lotus and a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker were nice. 

                                                                                                                                 Early Purple Orchid

                                                                                                                                    The Hethel Thorn
                                                                                                                                     False Oxlip